Proofreading

There’s much more to comics proofreading than to “normal” proofreading, as Dan Schiff, proofreader of Margreet de Heer’s graphic novels, explains.

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I translate my comics from Dutch to English myself, but I would be nowhere without my trusted Californian proofreader Dan Schiff

 

 

proofreading-strip

There’s so much more to comics proofreading than to “normal” proofreading, as Dan himself explains:

 

I take the proofing seriously and think hard because I know translators will be using the English language version. I know it is easier to not go back and redo comics as a deadline approaches, so I feel I need to let Maggie know when a change might simply be a rewording to consider, of if it is a glaring error that MUST be attended to.

Although we call it the English language, British spelling (humour instead of humor), overly formal words (whilst instead of while) regional terms (biscuits instead of cookies) are swapped out for American versions of these terms.

Proofing comics includes noticing alignment of word balloons and captions to make sure they are consistent throughout the strip. It also includes noticing if the handles of the word balloons are pointing at the correct person, and if the coloring is off or not blended in a small area.

Punctuation widely varies and is the subject of passionate expression of views. Exclamation points, after much discussion, can appear singly or in sets of three, but never ever two side by side!! (Joke there!)

I argue my case for each proofing change, but The Stripmaker is the final voice, and as long as the pros and cons of my suggestions are considered, I am happy with whatever Maggie chooses to change, or leave as it is.

That‘s it. Waaaaay TMI, but picky picky is my job.”

Dan and I have been collaborating for over 15 years now, mostly with an ocean and a continent between us, but recently he came over for a European trip and we met up – that’s when Dan came up with the idea of the photo comic above, which we shot in comics store Lambiek. Apart from a dedicated proofreader, Dan is also an artist himself with a great sense of composition and humorous timing!

Looking forward to many more projects together, Dan!

 

Comic Artist Laureate of the Netherlands

I’m proud to announce that as of yesterday, I can call myself the first Stripmaker des Vaderlands, which translates to the impressive sounding Comic Artist Laureate of the Netherlands – and well, it is pretty impressive: for the next three years, I’ll be the ambassador of Dutch comics!

flyer1

I’m extremely honored to receive this task, and have been bowled over by the amount of media attention today. Who said comics are under the radar? I’m especially happy with a 5-minute item on national TV, which not only showed me being proud and drawing, but also visited a school where my comics are used, and talked to Caroline van der Lee from aaStrips Foundation which launched the initiative. I’m so happy to have such enthusiastic people supporting me! Here’s an impression:

eenvandaag

My ambition: to bury Holland in comics. Like this:

drawing

I love what’s happening right now, and this weekend I’ll be at the Breda Comics Festival where I hope to talk to a lot of people, colleagues, teachers, fans… And next week I’ll probably be asleep.

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By the way, I’m also bowled over by the many congrats and encouraging words from friends and colleagues online (join me on Facebook!). Some even made me congratulatory drawings – thanks Marc ScherbateyevPeter van de Wiel and Pieter Hogenbirk!

marc-peterpieter

me

On Television

I was on Dutch TV, in a 25-minute interview that covered everything from my image of God to the upcoming Stripmaker des Vaderlands election. The program is called ‘Het Vermoeden’ and set in an old-fashioned train compartment, to facilitate guests talking about their life’s journey and the next station they expect to arrive at.

Of course, it was all done in a studio, and this is what it looked like:

studio

The interview was done by Marleen Stelling, and felt like a very pleasant, almost casual conversation about Life, the Universe and Everything:

vermoeden

I was a bit nervous about how I would come across on TV – I hardly ever see myself move or talk the way others perceive me, so it was really er, interesting to watch myself. The thing that struck me most was how lively I gesticulate:

gestes

And second, I was touched to find myself mirroring my long deceased grandfather, Hendrikus Berkhof, who was professor of Theology and would have loved to see his granddaughter carry on his legacy, in a way:

rab-nin

The whole interview (in Dutch!) can be watched here.

All in all, it was a very intense and positive experience! It makes me even more confident that not only could I handle being Stripmaker des Vaderlandsvoting still open until the 30th! – , I would actually enjoy the media aspect of it.

tv-me

Because, let’s be honest here, I just love talking about myself.

And comics.

And myself in relation to comics.

Food for Thought

Two years ago, I drew comics to illustrate the 17 Global Goals, and this year, I was asked by The World’s Largest Lesson to draw a follow-up poster. It’s designed to be used in schools, introducing the Global Goals through examining what’s on your plate – literally:

globalgoals_food

The project is neatly divided in different chunks and accompanied by handy notes for teachers – check it out on the site of The World’s Largest Lesson!

plans

All the materials are free and can be used in the age groups of 9-14 year olds – please spread the word to teachers and educators!

You’ve got mail!

Physical mail (the stuff that gets delivered to your door by a postman, as opposed to digital mail in your inbox) is under fire in The Netherlands. There’s less of it, so there are huge cuts in delivering hours and postman wages, while stamp prices go up and up.

Nevertheless, nothing beats the thrill of getting a personal letter by snail mail. And it’s been a thrilling time for me in that respect – here’s some stuff that got delivered to me recently:

resist

My wonderful Californian proofreader Dan Schiff sent me two copies of Resist!, the revolutionary magazine that my Minnie-comic was featured in. It’s great to finally be able to browse it (96 pages!) AND it came with lovely personal stuff from Dan, who’s also a gifted artist and a big James Joyce fan – that’s his drawing on a James Joyce bag, and he even added a little doodle especially for us!

Thanks, Dan!

cephalopod

She used to do my accounts for me, now Olga Nagtegaal is dabbling in linoleum prints and I just had to get my hands on this beautiful cephalopod. She even threw in a “misprint” which is just as lovely! (I’m cheating a bit, because Olga actually delivered this to my door, but it was in an addressed envelope, so it still counts as mail).

Thanks, Olga!

lenticular-maatn

My brother Maarten de Heer recently launched a successful Kickstarter to fund his unique lenticular painting BIOSCOPE. Yesterday, the rewards arrived – pieces from the experimental prints he made in the process. Especially for us, he added a print of these animations Yiri made on the DS:

lenticular-yiri

(The real-life picture moves when you change the angle – it’s made from a 15-frame animation)

Thanks, Maarten!

argibald

Artist Willem Bentvelzen (a.k.a. Argibald) makes hilarious cartoons, but also these lovely artistic drawings. For a few years now, he has produced one a day, offering them for a reasonable price of which 20% goes to the food bank. It’s the second time I’ve received his art, and I especially love this stack of cats. It arrived with a personal card and a stack of his cartoons.

Thanks, Willem!

Apart from receiving mail, I have also sent out some. In order to win votes for becoming Stripmaker des Vaderlands, I’m offering original doodles and sending them out on postcards. Here’s a selection:

cards

I’m continuing this until the end of September, by the way, so if you want one too, drop me a line!

(Netherlands only, but if you live abroad and you ask nicely, I’ll consider it)

Dutch elections

It’s time to vote again in The Netherlands – not for government this time, but for a Comic Artist Laureate (Stripmaker des Vaderlands). And I am one of the four nominees!

In October the result will be announced – until then, I’m campaigning like crazy, shunning no means, including bribery and blatant sexism. Vote for me because I have boobs!

zij-stript_holland-kl

All kidding aside: I do think I am a good candidate for the job – which would entail being the ambassador of Dutch comics for three years, starting up all kinds of initiatives that will put comics in the picture, and of course drawing comics about important national events.

To practise a bit, I recently drew this comic about the fallout of the Dutch elections for government – the formation of a cabinet is still going on, and here’s a bit of information about it.

formation1

formation2

Resist!

It’s the Fourth of July, and all over the United States people are celebrating (the memory of) Independence. Renowned comics publishers Françoise Mouly, Nadja Spiegelman and Gabe Fowler have compiled a special edition of Resist! for this occasion – a 96-page tabloid that is distributed for free, and guess what – I’m in it!!!

The Minnie comic I posted a few months ago made it into this issue, and I couldn’t be prouder. To celebrate, I’m sharing a new Minnie comic here today, also on the theme of Resist!.

minnie106

If you want more Minnie, please follow her on Tapastic, where I’m posting her adventures every week.